Get answers to your Arrhythmia questions.
Dysrhythmias; Abnormal heart rhythms; Bradycardia; Tachycardia
When an arrhythmia is serious, you may need urgent treatment to restore a normal rhythm. This may include:
Sometimes, getting better treatment for your angina or heart failure will decrease the chance of having an arrhythmia.
Medications may be used to prevent an arrhythmia from happening again, or to keep your heart rate from becoming too fast or too slow. These are called anti-arrhythmic drugs.
Some of these medicines can have side effects. Not all arrhythmias respond well to medications.
Cardiac ablation is a procedure used to destroy areas in your heart that may be causing your heart rhythm problems. Ablate means "to destroy."
An implantable cardiac defibrillator is placed in people who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death.
Pacemakers may be used for people who have heart problems that cause their heart to beat too slowly (bradycardia). Some pacemakers can be used to stop a heart rate that is too fast (tachycardia) or irregular.
The outcome depends on several factors:
Some types of arrhythmias may be life-threatening if not promptly and properly treated.
With bradycardias treated with a permanent pacemaker, the outlook is usually good.
Call your health care provider if:
Epstein AE, DiMarco JP, Ellenbogen KA, Estes NA 3rd, Freedman RA, Gettes LS, et al. ACC/AHA/HRS 2008 Guidelines for Device-Based Therapy of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the ACC/AHA/NASPE 2002 Guideline Update for Implantation of Cardiac Pacemakers and Antiarrhythmia Devices): developed in collaboration with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Circulation. 2008;117:e350-e408.
Hayes DL, Zipes DP. Cardiac pacemakers and cardioverter-defibrillators. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 34.
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